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Story concept for a breeder/eater/sim game


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#1 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4915

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 09:14 PM

Here's the story concept for my latest game design idea, any comments/suggestions welcome.

You are an alien, of a species of alien which has insect-like social structure. Except the important one is not a queen that hides in the nest producing eggs, it's an explorer/builder who creates a nest, explores to find resources and bring them home, battles enemies, and creates more aliens of assorted specialized types (well, that's sort of like laying the eggs). Let's call this special type of alien a Founder. You happen to be a young Founder who has just gotten kicked out of his birth nest (you were only supposed to be a worker but accidentally hatched as a Founder, and your Founder parent isn't ready to retire yet and won't/can't allow a competing founder to share the nest. So, alone and empty-handed you head off into the wilderness looking for a place to make your own nest.

Along the way you encounter enemies and you battle them, kill them, and of course eat them. You're going to need to stock up all the energy you can get to start building up your own colony. At the end of the first level you get to the colony site. This is where the breeding and sim elements enter in. You can go out whenever you want to to fight and gather more energy and resources. Inside the nest you're safe, instead you spend your resources to build up your facilities, and you experimentally breed the few types of alien you initially know how to create in order to discover more and more specialized types. Specialized aliens open up new resource-processing capabilities, and processed resources can in turn used to be able to create new specialized types of alien. (Perhaps you need higher-quality nests to hatch higher-quality eggs). It might also be necessary to play a minigame to train your newly-created minions. The ultimate goal of the game is to have fully upgraded your nest and discovered all possible types of alien; basically, you would have mastered being a Founder. Perhaps the last type of alien you discover how to create is your own type, allowing you to create an heir (possible new game plus playing as the heir).

So, does this sound fun? What would you add to the story to make it more immersive and emotionally involving? Anyone want to suggest a name for this game?

Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


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#2 PropheticEdge   Members   -  Reputation: 150

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 05:25 AM

I like the premise, especially a non-queen centric insect hierarchy. It's a cool idea to stir that nest up some *BADUM PSH*

A couple things.

1) This story would work rather well with a race of self-sustaining nano-machines, too. Really, it would be a choice of aesthetics over using organic lifeforms, but especially with the rising prominence of nanotech in our own world it might be an interesting thing to explore.

2) What sort of emotional involvement are you looking for? You could swing this story in a lot of different ways. Emotionally, it's a pretty blank slate right now. Do you want to inspire dread into your players at witnessing this hive of cold, mechanically precise aliens consume and grow at a phenomenal pace, absorbing and conquering lesser species? Do you want this to be really cutesy, capturing the whimsical feel of Pikmin? Or are you trying to instill a sense of pride in the player as they see the fruits of their labor blossom before their eyes as their hive expands and prospers? I think it will be hard to progress the story further, or give advice on ways to invest the player emotionally, without knowing what target you're aiming for.

#3 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4915

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 11:23 PM

Thank you. I agree that a machine race would work equally well as an insectoid one; I have a general aesthetic preference for biological life forms, but something like Transformers could be popular with an audience. One could even be done as a sequel game to the other, reusing the code and some of the assets.

With an insectoid alien race I'd be going for both cute and pride-inspiring. When I think of insectoid aliens Invader Zim is one example that springs to mind of a cute graphical style.

Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#4 Impervious   Members   -  Reputation: 546

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 01:10 AM

Well it's definitely an interesting concept, but the one negative part that stood out to me was how the game would end. I don't think it would be the best idea to have each player strive to get the fully upgraded hive as well as discover all the aliens.

One of the reasons I feel that wouldn't be ideal is because near the end of the game you would have just recently accessed some cool new aliens or upgrades but you wouldn't be able to utilize them (or at least not much). Even if you would let the player continue playing, it seems like they wouldn't be of all that much use at that point since you would already be done with the game.

Another reason is that it really forces the player to follow specific goals. Perhaps you could simply require that they reach a fully upgraded nest, but not that they discover all types of aliens. Doing so could allow people to determine which aliens they really need (possibly for survival or advancement), and which ones they can skip out on in order to get some kind of benefit such as earlier upgrades to the aliens they already have, or simply reaching the fully upgraded nest sooner.

Despite those two things (which I don't think would be big deals... especially if you are envisioning the game differently than I am interpreting it, or if you changed things a bit) I feel that the biggest problem is simply that it isn't a very satisfying goal. It makes me think a bit of an RTS like Ages of Empires, but instead of teching up to go kill your opponent with good units, you are simply teching up and the game just ends. This ties in a bit with my first point; I feel like at the end of the game I would want to go use my most recent upgrades to conqueror some type of challenge.

It may really depend on the story though and how much you are willing to change it, as my comments don't seem to fit in with what you had in mind. Perhaps the family kicked you out because you seemed too weak for their civilization, which is one that exterminates other races for greedy or selfish reasons. So now while they continue to do terrible things to the rest of the universe, you can rise up as your own power and put an end to them as the one that they thought was too weak to contribute.

Keep in mind I am definitely no writer, and I also just came up with that on the spot so give me a break if it is cheesy or unoriginal. It was just a basic idea. :P

Well... hopefully that at least helped you come up with some more ideas. I'm sure I don't need to tell you this, but of course my comments are only my opinion... perhaps the way you envision it now is better than what I have suggested. Either way, good luck if you plan on following through with it!

#5 TechnoGoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2765

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 06:35 AM

It initially reminds me of the life cycle of ants. How mated females fly off to start their own colonies.

I can see plenty of sim possibilities for the game different environments and obstacles requiring you to breed different creatures to tackle. It would be good if your creatures were fairly disposable and you could take control of them or send orders to them. Take control of your lava walker and seem if it strong enough to swim to the bottom of the lava pit to retrieve that strange box. Nope, oh well what if I add more heat proofing…

I’m struggling to see what the story would be though. Perhaps you could take a lost in space approach? Rather then be kicked out of the colony you were travelling to a new colony site when you were caught in spatial rift and transported to alien world with no knowledge of where you are or how to get back to the hive. You could then have the player build up a series of colonies as they try to reconnect with the hive. Add in some Ancient artefacts, friendly and hostile aliens, a few different environments and planets, and maybe a couple of ways to win and could be a good story.



#6 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4915

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 10:34 AM

Impervious - I want the single main gameplay goal to be "gotta breed em all", because this is a goal players often want to pursue in breeding games but I haven't yet ever seen a game that actually has it as the official goal. Pokemon doesn't, you can't even get all the types of monster in any single player game with no trading, and there are few or no monsters only creatable by breeding. Plant Tycoon and Fish Tycoon don't, the goal is to get the 7 magical plants/fish and doesn't even keep track of whether you ever owned the others. Upgrading the hive would consist at least partly of building special nests which are required to hatch different kinds of eggs. Eating enemies is a minigame to break up the breeding play, and primarily gathers energy spent to produce eggs. So, with that as the core of the game, what suggestions would you still make or change about the gameplay?

Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#7 Impervious   Members   -  Reputation: 546

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 11:35 AM

Impervious - I want the single main gameplay goal to be "gotta breed em all", because this is a game players often want to pursue in breeding games but I haven't yet ever seen a game that actually has it as the official goal. Pokemon doesn't, you can't even get all the types of monster in any single player game with no trading, and there are few or no monsters only creatable by breeding. Plant Tycoon and Fish Tycoon don't, the goal is to get the 7 magical plants/fish and doesn't even keep track of whether you ever owned the others. Upgrading the hive would consist at least partly of building special nests which are required to hatch different kinds of eggs. Eating enemies is a minigame to break up the breeding play, and primarily gathers energy spent to produce eggs. So, with that as the core of the game, what suggestions would you still make or change about the gameplay?


Well I don't play those kinds of games so I'm definitely not the best person to ask, but I guess I will stick with one of my original comments; you may want to think of a way that once they reach the highest level, they can keep using whatever they recently got, otherwise the aliens/upgrades that you get very late in the game will never be put to good use, and also I still feel that if the game just ends--even if you let them continue playing but there is nothing to do--it will be very anticlimactic and unsatisfying.

Also, it seems that a mini-game may get a bit repetitive or annoying if you have to do it every time you eat an enemy, though maybe a certain kind of mini-game would be interesting enough. I just feel that a mini-game would be better suited for breeding as I believe you initially suggested. That way you won't have to do it as frequently as I can only imagine you will be eating FAR more than you will be breeding/upgrading.

Once again though... I don't play those kinds of games so I'm definitely not the best person to ask about that. Hopefully it at least helped a little bit though.

#8 Khaiy   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1342

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 12:53 PM

For me, breeding has to do something other than recursively feed into more breeding, even if that is the core aspect of gameplay. It's too much like grinding in MMOs, where the only purpose of advancing your character is to be able to advance further still, without necessarily offering much variety between what you do to grind and what your reward for doing so is.

So even while breeding is the stated goal of the game, each creature needs to have a valuable function aside from unlocking other breeds. It would be interesting to me if the game was real-time, and production of creatures was constant. The player can allocate resources to different hives/hatcheries or whatever, altering the resultant mix of creatures produced. These creatures (maybe after training) then automatically carry out functions like processing resources or patrolling for enemies. This automation lets the player focus on the breeding and state of the nest rather than the behaviors of specific individuals other than the Founder.

Maybe the player can adjust traits of a breed of creature within a range, so that there is some ability to respond to challenges without needing to unlock a new breed. Unlocking a new breed should be a major investment of resources and a moderate risk, so that the nest will need to be well managed for the player to succeed in unlocking all breeds as the game advances.

I can think of a few story ideas, but they all revolve around the same theme. My idea is that nests work to advance their own genetic lineage and eliminate others who compete for the resources needed to do so. A given nest can only grow so much and still be efficiently competetive or dominate a given geographical area effectively, so producing more Founders is the de facto strategy for expansion.

But the production of a new Founder requires huge risk for an existing Founder, who is vulnerable during the process (and perhaps very formidable at other times). And the pheremones given off in preparation for/during the process provoke a massive response from other non-related hives, as it is a prime opportunity to off an existing Founder and wipe out that whole hive, not to mention deny the opportunity to produce a new nest.

So the goal of the game is to produce a hive capable of facilitating the birth of a new Founder and also withstanding the onslaught so provoked. This can require a mix of all preceding creature types (though the exact composition might be variable, based on the other nests nearby?), as well as effective management. And choosing when to try unlocking the final creature type is a big decision.

I can imagine different difficulties being based on preceding hives in an area-- you're from a well-established lineage on your continent, so you'll have less threat from others, being the first of your line in a new area for more difficulty, and so on. The hardest difficulty could be one in which you are a mutation, rejected by your progenitor as too different and opposing rather than supporting your lineage's expansion, effectively being a new lineage unto yourself, forced to compete with no support of any kind.

There could also be a meta-component, where multiple playthroughs can advance your lineage until you reach world domination, or take the role of a new or different lineage to compete against the empire you've already established.

Just a couple of ideas, maybe you'll find some use for them.

#9 Songbird   Members   -  Reputation: 131

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 01:07 PM

So, what happens after you breed the final one? A game over screen and roll credits? Do you use it to defeat some imminent danger to the hive? I think "why" we are breeding them all would be a good question to ask as well. This would help decide a lot of the game play elements. For example,

If we're breeding all of the creatures just because we can, then it would play more like a simulation. No consistent conflict, although there can be random events; no solid story line and therefore no emotional vestment in the character. You're going to find a smaller audience for this type of game, although if done right I can see this being huge on Facebook. Although since you seem against being required to have others assist you in your goal of collecting them all, this may not be the best route.

If we're breeding all of the creatures to overcome a certain obstacle, it would play more like an RTS or Lemmings (I love that game!). You could have a story line, with a consistent antagonist and clear end. Sadly, this would lead to one of two things: The player is forced to collect all of the units to persevere in the final battle, or the player can beat the game without collecting all of the units. Either way this would move the collection aspect to a secondary role which does not sound like a preferred option for you.

The last reason I can think of is to use the individual units for specialized tasks. This would be like Pokemon (and bear in mind its been a looooong time since I've played the game), where you collect/breed your minions and use them in your quests and PvP. You could have a quest line for players to follow and get emotionally invested, but I would leave it fairly open ended so when players hit the end of the road there are still things to keep them playing. Although this does strongly encourage players to collect as many as they can (because in theory the rarer ones are more powerful), once again, it does not conform to you desire to have collecting as the "single main gameplay goal".

Also, in regards to minigames, I think these work best when they are optional. Maybe by completing them you can gain a little boost, but after a while it gets to the point where you are just tired of them ,especially if you are creating hundreds or thousands of aliens that require this training.

Would I play it? Sure, although if it were just breeding and a few minigames I'm not sure it would keep my interest for more than a week or two. I enjoy simulations, but after a bit I lose focus and it all seems to be doing the same actions over and over. As for the name, why not call it "Founder"?

Hope this helps.

#10 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4915

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 06:12 PM

This game is supposed to be a sim which should be easy to complete within 2 weeks of play, maybe even within one week if one played pretty hardcore. My use of the word minigame may have been misleading - I'm talking about combat, probably arcade-style. I was trying to say that it functions as a minigame because the breeding sim gameplay is the main gameplay, while the combat is a secondary thing the player can do whenever they want to take a break from the first. I was aiming to have slightly more story than directly comparable breeding sim games, but I don't think that this type of game needs a ton of story, particularly since it has no dating sim aspects.

I'm torn about the realtime growing thing, because it's so annoying in the sim games I've played that have it. Nothing worse than sitting staring at a screen waiting for 5 minutes to pass so you can make another move. As a player I prefer active grinding to passive waiting, even though neither is ideal. I think if I have a variety of opponent monsters and let the player choose which one to attempt to hunt for, but add a random element to the minor monsters encountered along with the player's chosen one, that should be interesting enough for two weeks worth of play.

The highest level and ending: No I don't want the game to just end anti-climatically. I was thinking that when all except the final type of creature have been bred, the game would announce excitedly to the player that they had almost attained the pinnacle of Founder-hood. Then the game would explain that the ultimate, most difficult thing for a Founder to create was a Founder child. And have a bit of story referring back to the beginning of the game. Then give the player the rather complicated sequence of steps they'd have to perform to do this final thing. And when the player completes that, give them a trumpet fanfare and "you win at life" congratulatory message. Then the credits, preferably with some nice music and humorous use of the game sprites, and finally the choice to play the new game plus. I think that would be a satisfying ending, on top of the satisfaction during the game of seeing the 'book of all possible types of aliens' get filled out as you successfully breed them.

Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#11 PropheticEdge   Members   -  Reputation: 150

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Posted 29 May 2011 - 04:22 PM

Given that you're dealing with aliens who have an insect-like culture, I think it will be hard to convey a lot of emotion or plot through words. There will be a strong cultural disconnect between your aliens and the human audience playing the game. In this case, you can convey emotional investment through aesthetics rather than actual words. Making the aliens cutesy and endearing would go a long way to getting players invested in the aliens.

Pikmin did this fabulously. For one, the design of the Pikmin was abstract and cartoony. Probably the single greatest graphical element in Pikmin, however, was their death animation wherein a little Pikmin soul flies out of their body when they die. This was a great way to make the player feel kind of bad for letting the Pikmin die, and helped make them feel responsible for the little dudes.

You could anthropomorphize their society to give it human-like elements. Actually have the aliens talk to one another, make them have relationships and enemies. That would certainly be a weird and interesting take on the topic, since insect-like societies tend to be more mechanical in nature. The focus is far less on the individual, but far more on the hive (and its success). As for the specific dialogue... I'm not 100% sure, I'd have to think about it.

Oh, and a thought. The founder could not lay eggs himself, but instead could be responsible for fertilizing and nourishing the eggs. He could secrete a pool of goo that eggs would be laid in, and the composition of the goo would determine what hatches from the eggs. The Founder could then enter its vulnerable state just before preparing the goo to make another Founder.

#12 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4915

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 05:38 AM

I would choose to anthropomorphize it. I was thinking of the player as being like a "duke" or "plantation owner" who controls an estate, is responsible for its population of workers, is responsible for its revenue and spending (in this case, of biological energy instead of money), and is the main link between the fairly self-contained world of the estate and the outside world. The idea of a harem is also applicable (the more realistic historical type of harem which included a nursery, schooling for children, care for the elderly, weaving and sewing, and probably a kitchen which fed the whole estate's population.)

Maybe it's my background as a science fiction reader and writer, or maybe it's just that I'm a verbal/analytical type of person, but when I encounter an alien culture, although atmospherics and aesthetics are cool, I want a verbal explanation and illustration of their culture. The explanation part would be narration and possibly introspection, while the illustration part would be dialogue as well as cartoony interactions.

Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#13 JoeCooper   Members   -  Reputation: 338

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 06:49 AM

You know a lot of insects don't actually have social structures or hierarchies?

Queens aren't actually queens, they're just producers. It's a caste, a job, a thing to be done. Ants and bees and so on don't give or take orders. There's no centralized planning or power structure. It's literally anarchy, but without the antagonistic, conflict-perspective tinge that anarchist teenagers have. They're all on the same page.

You should think about this, I feel like it's an under-explored aspect of the insects in pop culture. You seem to want to liken them to feudal systems and this might be a good step out of your comfort zone.

#14 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4915

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 10:44 AM

I do know how various kinds of insect societies work, yes. My interest as a science fiction and fantasy writer is to write about human nature, so I'm interested in creating aliens who are fundamentally human on the inside, though their culture will have evolved differently due to their different biology. In this particular case I want to create a reason for the player to be the leader of the aliens, making all the decisions for them, and at the same time I want the position 'leader of the aliens' to be a position human players will find gratifying and satisfying. None of this is about comfort zone, it's about what kind of story I want to tell and how I want it to appeal to the audience. I certainly don't always create feudal cultures in my fiction - sometimes a tribal culture is more fitting to the story I want to tell, sometimes a military bureaucracy is more fitting...

Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#15 JoeCooper   Members   -  Reputation: 338

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 10:55 AM

Don't get so defensive. I'm just suggesting something to think about. But you were very specifically making feudal analogies. I never said you always do that so frankly I have no idea what you're talking about.


I do wonder why, if you want to write science fiction and the human condition, why you aren't interested in anything else. How do you understand what is human without understanding what isn't, or what else is possible? You don't have to write about that and I wouldn't expect you to already know about that, I was just sharing because I thought it was interesting.

Sorry if I put it more rudely earlier, I accidentally ate something I shouldn't have yesterday and every time I do that I get into arguments on the internet because it makes me cranky and stupider for a few days. (I have celiac - gluten is like a direct kick to the brain.)

#16 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4915

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 03:24 PM

Oh, I have a friend who has that, and it does totally screw up her moods. I read your previous post as talking-down a bit, but if you weren't intending that then I apologize for overreacting.

Just as an abstract point of philosophy, I do think that being human gives one the ability to understand what is human without understanding much about what isn't human. In more practical terms, I feel like my education and my pleasure reading have had plenty to say about non-human mindsets, and I don't feel a need to explore that by writing about it. I've read several readers' and authors' statements in favor of creating 'truly alien aliens', so I believe I understand why some people think that's an admirable thing to do. I have no objection to other people writing that. It just is boring to me. I've also read some readers' and authors' statements about why the most important thing fiction can study and teach about is human nature and how individuals within cultures go about trying to solve their problems. This is more interesting to me. I think other humans are the single most relevant challenge in most people's lives, and humans are, ourselves, more complex than anything we have yet managed to create or imagine. I'm interested in science fiction and fantasy because they are great for putting people into unusual situations one doesn't encounter in real life. I'm also interested in the increasing ability of humans to modify their bodies, and the question of how being in a human body shapes our thoughts, and would then cease to shape our thoughts if this factor were removed.

As a side note, although feudal and similar cultures might be considered overdone within the genre of fantasy, I think they remain relevant because they account for almost 1/3 of all the cultures humans have ever invented. This fact is illuminating of human nature, because it reveals that feudalism is a type of culture people instinctively form and one that feels right and satisfying to us in subconscious ways despite its many problems. It's also a kind of culture one sees among animals - not insects so much, but groups of mammals where only the alpha pair gets to reproduce, and also get to eat first and boss the others around, as well as herds where one dominant male polices a group of females. If meddling aliens were to take 500 humans from around the world and drop them unexpectedly on another planet I think it's very likely that a feudal culture would emerge among them, at least until they felt their situation was stable enough to start demanding more rights and representation. If their memories were erased before being dropped there, if they survived at all there is a large chance they would form a really long-lasting feudal culture before coming up with concepts like democracy and socialism.

Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#17 JoeCooper   Members   -  Reputation: 338

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 04:17 PM

Yeah, that was a cranky post, I'm sorry, I gotta stop doing that. Did not mean to be talking down, I just thought it was interesting.

Anyway, these are super interesting topics that I've been thinking a lot about lately but I'm not gonna derail the thread with 'em. Plus I already know we think very differently in some fundamental ways.

So I'm thinking about the story now. I'm not quite getting it except as a few things that happen about a founder getting kicked out of another society, but that hints at - as someone mentioned - creating founders and spinoff societies.

When I think about your initial pitch, I get something like this... We have a founder building a society. The founder is queenish; creates units. Or at least decides which are created, perhaps it can (as per the 'harem' comment) create units that can create units. But unlike insects, the founder is also a decision maker. You might decide the kinds (castes?) you create.

A few things jump to my mind.

One's an article on Gamasutra a read a while back where someone was musing about the possibility of character interaction being "the hud".

In this model - I'm trying to form a mental image of this - your Founder is your avatar, who can act, and you'd have some sort of information dissemination system you can talk to your spawned critters.

The actions of broadcasting information through communication would be a core component of the game which would involve actually trying to organize everyone to do things.

And of course there'd also be whatever actions a unit is actually capable of.

"I'm torn about the realtime growing thing, because it's so annoying in the sim games I've played that have it. Nothing worse than sitting staring at a screen waiting for 5 minutes to pass so you can make another move."

You'd have other things to do.

I'm drafting a prototype right now of a space colony game with a no-matter-or-information-faster-than-light rule and I was going to basically de-emphasize waiting on results in favor of continually building, launching, action at home and trying to work ahead of situations. In other words, there should constantly be short, quick loops happening, but you can also have big loops.

Just not only the latter.

This thinking is kind of primitive and I'll need to finish the prototype to decide if it's completely retarded or not, but, I'm just reminded a lot of that project so I'm making some comparisons.

#18 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4915

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 01:55 PM

Having bigger waiting processes and smaller waiting processes can work very well for a more complex game like an RTS. Having a leader of aliens controlling the breeding, reproduction, and resource-gathering sounds rather like the Zerg singleplayer campaign in Starcraft, actually. But the breeding sims I've played haven't been complex enough to always give the player something to do, resulting in irritating do-nothing waits even when played at max speed.

Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#19 JoeCooper   Members   -  Reputation: 338

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 03:28 PM

I'm embarrassed to admit I've never played Starcraft. RTSes never caught me.

There isn't much of a story here, but I do see the first bits of a world coming together to some sort of specs about what you want the themes to be, etc. etc. which in my mind is super important to arting a game product.

"the breeding sims I've played haven't been complex enough to always give the player something to do"

Sim Ant, while not a breeding sim, is notable; the colony (which was played straight with no hierarchy) pretty much ran itself but you could take control of an individual and play as that individual, and easily keep yourself occupied doing all the things that are done.

I'm thinking about a similar approach of having something purposeful for individuals to be doing, that you can also do, while also joining this with a breeding sim and a hierarchial society.

Can you program at all? Would you be interested in prototyping this with me? Do you want to flesh this out and build it at all or is this just a brainstorm?

#20 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4915

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 05:41 PM

I'm not a programmer, no. I'm a designer/writer/2d artist. I was intending to write up a brief design document for a breeding sim and then start making art for it, but I haven't decided whether to go with the aliens or use a different type of breedable.

In the zerg portion of Starcraft's single-player campaign, the first scene which establishes your character is this:

Awaken my child, and embrace the glory that is your birthright. Know that I am the Overmind; the eternal will of the Swarm, and that you have been created to serve me. Behold that I shall set you amongst the greatest of my Cerebrates, that you might benefit from their wisdom and experience. Yet your purpose is unique. While they carry forth my will to the innumerable Broods, you have but one charge entrusted to your care. For I have found a creature that may yet become the greatest of my agents. Even now it resides within a protective Chrysalis, awaiting its rebirth into the Swarm. You must watch over the Chrysalis, and ensure that no harm comes to the creature within it. Go now and keep safe my prize. ||||| Mission Start |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| *** Beginning of the mission *** DAGGOTH The Hatchery is the heart of any Zerg colony. It spontaneously generates larva, which in turn are used to spawn your various warriors and minions. DAGGOTH Now, create a Drone and start gathering resources.


If you want examples of a sim game with a central avatar, Harvest Moon is a pretty obvious example. It's a farming sim, you are the farmer, you plant and water and harvest the vegetables, and you buy and breed the livestock.

Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.





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